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(NNPA) – Far too many law enforcement officers – from rookies to the highest ranking – view African Americans as “dogs,” and some punch in believing that, “it’s a good day for a chokehold.”

The departments thus far implicated are Dallas, Tex; Denison, Tex.; Lake County, Fla.; Philadelphia, Penn; Phoenix; St. Louis, Mo; Twin Falls, Idaho; and York, Penn.

Others believe women in hijabs are tantamount to “trash bags.”

Those of just some of the alarming public posts on Facebook written by police officers in departments across the country – they were identified by the Philadelphia-based Plain View Project, a database that chronicles police use of social media.

Already, authorities in Philadelphia and St. Louis said they’ve opened an Internal Affairs investigation into the posts, which number exceeds 3,000, according to the Plain View Project.

The departments thus far implicated are Dallas, Tex; Denison, Tex.; Lake County, Fla.; Philadelphia, Penn; Phoenix; St. Louis, Mo; Twin Falls, Idaho; and York, Penn.

The Plain View Project, headed by Philadelphia-based attorney Emily Baker-White, said its analysis determined that at least 328 active-duty police officers posted content that championed violence against Muslims, immigrants and African Americans.

“We found a very high and concerning number of posts that appear to endorse, celebrate or glorify violence and vigilantism,” Baker-White said in a televised interview with ABC News.

“We included posts that we thought could affect public trust and policing,” she said.

“We also included posts that seemed to emit some sort of bias against a group of people – whether if that’s a minority faith, a minority race, ethnicity, immigration status, whatever it is. We saw a number of posts that appeared to denigrate those groups of people,” Baker-White said.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed that an investigation is underway in that city.

“We have reviewed the social media transcriptions you provided and find many of them to be not only incongruent with our standards and policies, but also troubling on a human level,” Ross said in a statement.

While some of the Facebook posts, which also included images of the Confederate flag, have been deleted, the Plain View Project provided screenshots of the posts in their public online database.

Since its establishment in 2017, the group has compiled more than 5,000 posts from current and former officers, both in big cities such as Dallas and in smaller jurisdictions like Lake County, Florida.

The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association said it has contacted the Council on American Islamic Relations to set up a meeting but declined further comment.

“We strongly condemn violence and racism in any form. The overwhelming majority of our 7-thousand officers regularly act with integrity and professionalism,” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby said in a statement.

Baker-White told the New York Times that the Facebook posts are far from isolated incidents and are very disconcerting.

“One of the reasons that I don’t think it’s an individual problem is that these folks are talking to each other. There are a lot of posts that have eight comments underneath them, and three of those comments are by other police officers, and in those long comment threads you often see a kind of piling on,” Baker-White said.

“If one guy makes a comment that’s sort of violent, another guy will say, ‘Oh, that’s not enough, I would have hit him harder.’ ‘I would have shot him.  ‘I would have killed him.’

“It creates a space where officers feel like this is what they should do or think, and I fear that leads more officers to do and think this stuff,” she said.

Baker-White acknowledges the tough job of law enforcement in general.

“Yes, police officers have an incredibly hard job,” she said. “There’s probably an incredible amount of PTSD; there’s an incredible amount of stress. But, it’s not OK then to say, ‘Let’s go get these animals tonight.’”

To view the entire report, visit https://www.plainviewproject.org/

By Stacy M. Brown |NNPA Newswire Correspondent

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(OPINION) – Last month, we saw an effort in the California State House to ban flavored tobacco fail after a key committee opted not to hear the bill. In the state Senate, there is a similar bill that will probably receive a floor vote soon, but the expectation is that bill will also face hurdles in the House. These unsuccessful efforts are casting doubt on whether the state will be able to enact meaningful changes to tobacco laws that will reverse the trend in teen smoking.

The increased interest in banning flavored tobacco products is due, in part, to a recent study that shows the correlation between teen smoking and their increased interest in e-cigarettes. According to the Truth Initiative, a study showed that 20% of high school students used either e-cigarettes or other smokeless products in the past 30 days. That is nearly four times the number of teens who reported using traditional cigarettes. You also don’t see these trends in adult smokers: only 2% reported using e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products.

I admire California legislators for attempting to address this critical issue and I remain hopeful that the state House and Senate can come together to pass meaningful legislation that will keep e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products out of the hands of California teens.

But, while we wait for change at the state level, I am also grateful to see important action happening on the federal level to address teen smoking as well.

Some of you have read about the recent push by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to increase the national age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Senator McConnell’s position has helped create the momentum for states across the country to pass their own version of this bill. Earlier this month, Texas joined about a dozen other states in enacting similar policies.

But these aren’t the only proposals that could help reverse the trend of teen smoking.

Our home state Senator Dianne Feinstein, alongside a bipartisan group of Senators, has introduced the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act.

This legislation, introduced in April, would update the laws that govern tobacco deliveries. As it stands, there is no requirement for a physical ID check when an e-cigarette product is purchased online and delivered, unlike traditional cigarettes where an ID check is mandatory. This legislation would update the law to treat e-cigarette products the same as traditional tobacco products.

Senator Feinstein’s legislation is a critical component to addressing teen smoking because of the teens who reported purchasing their own e-cigarettes, over 30% bought these products online. Even if the federal and state age to purchase tobacco products is increased, tech-savvy teens will still be able to order these products online without additional protective measures like requiring an ID check upon delivery.

California and the nation are facing an epidemic of teen smoking that directly results from the increased availability of flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. And e-cigarette companies like Juul are hiring high-powered lobbyists in D.C. and across the country to fight against any effort made to decrease their market share. Just last month, Juul hired two senior trump officials to fight against a San Francisco ballot imitative that would prevent them from doing business in the city.  

Given that teen smoking is a public health crisis, our elected representatives in positions of power like Senator Feinstein and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) must take action to fight for the next generation and support common sense, effective legislation.

By Javon Grant | Special to the Observer

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(CBM) – In February, Gov. Newsom asked Tony Thurmond, Superintendent of Public Instruction, to set up a task force charged with looking at the impact public charter school funding has on district-run public school finances.

Gov. Newsom Signs Transparency Bill

The team submitted its report to the governor last week.

The10-page document is expected to inform legislators’ votes on two contested charter school bills the Senate is reviewing. Their report could also influence whether or not the governor signs them.

If passed, those bills would encode major changes to California’s Charter Schools Act of 1992. That regulation governs more than 1,300 independent, taxpayer-financed schools in the state, which enroll more than 50,000 African-American students.  

“The public deserves a transparent report, one that also reflects honestly that there is more work to be done,” said Thurmond.“We will continue working with legislators and stakeholders, as well as welcome the opportunity for public input.”

The 11-member panel limited the scope of its inquiry to only two issues: charter schools’ impact on the financial health of traditional school districts and inconsistencies in the ways county boards authorize charters. 

In the report – heavy with suggestions but light on data – the task force did not quantify the extent to which charter schools impact traditional district school finances. The document also did not share any findings of an inquiry into approval disparities.

Also missing is comment on another issue driving much of the public debate on charter schools in California. That is the huge gap between the academic performance of African-American students and all others sub-groups in the state.

Many charter schools have found themselves on the leading edge of working to close that discrepancy, frequently dubbed “the African-American achievement Gap.” A concentration of charters are located in neighborhoods up and down the state where some of the lowest-performing traditional public schools have operated for decades without making significant improvements to their academic outcomes for Black students.  On state tests, the average scores of African-American students consistently fall below those of all other sub-groups, accept students with disabilities.

In 1996, Californians voted to pass Prop 209 prohibiting the state from considering race in public education policy. 

Charter school representatives as well as Labor union members supporting traditional district-run schools served on Thurmond’s task force. They teamed up with local school board officials and administrators to hash out ideas to share with the governor. 

Their report, submitted ahead of their June 30 deadline, recommends that the state gives school districts more discretion in the authorization process by adding two additional criteria: “saturation” of schools and the “need for new schools.” That “saturation” and “need,” the report says, would factor in the number of schools in a district, the number of students attending them, their performance and curricula. 

The report also proposes extending the charter school approval timeframe from 60 to 90 days and limiting the appeal process to county school boards. Under current law, the State Board of Education has the final say.

Another recommendation proposes setting up agencies tasked with developing statewide oversight guidelines and providing standardized training for authorizers.

Finally, the task force recommends changing the state’s education code to allow tuition payments to district-run public schools to continue for one year after students leave traditional public schools for charters. The report puts the cost for that effort at $96 million.

California’s largest concentrations of charter schools operate in clusters around Oakland, Inglewood and San Diego, also home to some of the largest populations of African Americans in California. Therefore, many Black legislators and educators, as well as African-American charter school parents, anticipated the report’s release.

In fact, when the Assembly education committee voted to pass four charter school bills earlier this year, Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), chair of the legislative Black Caucus, withheld her vote. Weber said she was looking forward to seeing the findings of the task force before making a final decision.

“There are correlations. Areas with the most charter schools also happen to be tracts of the state where the census has historically undercounted African Americans. Undercounts result in under-funding for critical services –  from education to health,” said Walter Hawkins, a senior research associate at NewHawk, a southern California-based data collection firm. He recently conducted a study commissioned by California Black Media called “Counting Black California.” The report offers a county-by-county breakdown of demographic information on African Americans. 

On one side of the charter school debate in California, you have large teacher unions, the NAACP and other public education advocates who have organized and supported protests and strikes – the last major one shut down the LA Unified School District in January. They are demanding more accountability and oversight of charter schools, saying they siphon critical resources away from traditional public schools. 

On the other hand, there are concerned parents of more than 600,000 charter school students across the state, charter school operators and other advocates like the National Action Network and the National Urban League. They highlight how the independence of the schools have enabled administrators and teachers to develop specialized curricula that have turned the academic performance around for large numbers of students who district-run public schools previously failed.  

In a statement, the California Teachers Association (CTA) praised the majority of the recommendations and urged the legislature to pass the charter school bills currently before them. 

 “Our marginalized school communities have been deeply impacted when districts are forced to make difficult decisions and lacked the discretion they needed,” said Erika Jones, a Los Angeles-area teacher who represented the CTA on the task force. 

The governor’s press office said he is still reviewing the report.

Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, says the task force report is a step forward but there’s more to do. 

“There are elements that are deeply concerning and require more work ahead,” she said. “These are polarizing times, and Superintendent Thurmond had the difficult task of pulling together education stakeholders who have passionately disparate views about the vision for California’s public school system.”

By Tanu Henry | California Black Media 

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(CBM) – A little over 2.2 million African Americans call California home.

Of that number, 72 percent lives in southern California with the greatest concentration (about 36 percent) in Los Angeles County, followed by the Inland Empire, and then, the San Diego area.

The other 28 percent lives in the northern part of the state with the densest clusters of African Americans in and around the Bay Area, and a little bit east, centered around Sacramento and Central Valley.

California also has the fifth highest number of Blacks in the United States.

But when you look at percentages, California’s Black population compared to the total state population, makes up a little over 6.6 percent of the almost 40 million people living in the Golden State – ranking it 31st in the nation.

Two new reports, “Counting Black California” and “The State of Blacks In California” provided most of those numbers above and they dissect them in interesting ways, too. Created to instruct and support the work media publications, public affairs firms, community groups and others will do to educate Californians about participating in the 2020 Census, the surveys provide hyper-localized data on where Blacks live, who they are and a gives a scale of the areas of the state that census workers have had the hardest time counting with accuracy in the past.

“We approached this project thinking, ‘which data will be most useful to our network and partners when they are creating content to get the word out about the 2020 Census?,’” said Regina Wilson, Executive Director of California Black Media which commissioned the “Counting Black California” report.

“We’re equipping our network. We have a combined reach of more than 1 million people in the state – through print, digital and broadcast media,” Wilson said. “Now, they have the info they will need to develop super-targeted content for every segment of Black Californians living in every corner of the state.”

The “Counting Black California” report offers a county-by-county breakdown of demographic details and other data, including inflows of federal dollars into California and how many Blacks in the state are foreign born. It also identifies 8,057 census tracts in the state and ranks them on a scale from 1 to 9 – from the least to the most likely to respond to next year’s census survey. A number of social and economic factors are used to determine that rating.

“Now editors and journalists can look at a specific neighborhood or even a region, maybe, and find out who lives there, and where, and how difficult that place would be for census workers to count. Then, build a relevant informational campaign based on that knowledge,” said Walter Hawkins, a senior research associate at NewHawk, a southern California-based data collection firm. He conducted the research for the “Counting Black California” report.

“The State of Blacks in California” report provides “quality of life” data like income, marital status, poverty rates, levels of education, etc., that can be layered on top of the information in “Counting Black California” to gain a sense of the psychographics of  Black California.

“Our report provides a deeper snapshot of the communities that have the largest Black populations in the state as well as the factors that need to be considered when engaging Black Californians,” said Kellie Todd, who authored the report. She is the founder of Sistallect, Inc., a statewide organization created to empower women of color.

“Although the Black community in California is concentrated in 10 counties, connecting with residents can be difficult without understanding that there are geographical and cultural differences from region to region, city to city, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood,” said Todd. “Using a coalition approach has proven to be the most effective way, as well as partnering with local Black media outlets, to have maximum impact.”

“The State of Blacks in California” report is packed with stats that reveal pertinent tidbits about different communities. For example, African Americans in Contra Costa, Orange and Solano counties have the highest average income in the state – all three at $53k – but Orange County has the lowest Black poverty rate at 15 percent. Orange County also has the most African Americans with college degrees (37 percent) followed by Contra Costa County (25 percent).

“There are so many exciting ways the end user can slice and dice the information in both reports,” said Wilson. “It arms us with everything we need to know to run a strong Census 2020 education campaign. It gives us really actionable data that allows us to effectively follow-through, check how well we’re doing and change course if we need to.”

By Tanu Henry | California Black Media

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Juneteenth is properly seen as the victory celebration for the 209,145 African Descent soldiers who kept the United States one nation and indirectly liberated Mexico from foreign domination.

According to the U.S. Army Center for Military History, 16,000 troops from the 25th Corps arrived in Texas in May 1864 just one month after being the first troops to enter Petersburg and Richmond after their abandonment by Confederate forces.

They joined regiments from Corps d’Afrique, which had been organized in the Mississippi Valley, which had first entered Texas in 1864.  Almost a fourth of the African-American troops in the Army at that time were massed in Texas when it became the last state of the Confederacy to surrender on June 19, 1865.

If this sounds different from the narrative you’ve heard, underscore heard.  A new approach to American history uses the written and official documentation created by African-Americans to scientifically describe their central role in the transformation of the Western Hemisphere.  It also takes into account that Mexico’s civil war from 1857-59 and the subsequent occupation by England, Spain and. particularly France, were significant factors influencing the war between the states in the United States.

This approach also takes note of the extraordinary organization and communication system which Africans developed over two centuries which became visible in 1863 with the organization of the Union (Loyal) League.  Within one year after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and the First and Second Confiscation Acts, the League had 4,700 chapters and 700,000 members, 20 percent of all blacks in the country.

That organization allowed the rapid integration of soldiers and civilian workers into the Union war effort, the critical tipping point which decided the war in favor of maintaining the United States as a nation.

Just as Crispus Attucks led the Boston Massacre’s martyrdom in 1770 and Haitian troops saved the Revolution at Savannah and Yorktown, this effort is a foundation of modern America, appreciated by a great majority of whites at the time through the passage in 30 states of the 13th Amendment and subsequently, through new black voters, of the 14th Amendment in 1868.

The military success should not be seen as an anomaly.  John Calhoun blocked blacks from serving in the U.S. Army in 1828 at the same time that invaders were spreading into Seminole territories of the Deep South to plant cotton.  Yet, as allies of indigenous, British and Spanish forces, the Seminole Wars were the longest engagement ever faced by the U.S. Army over 30 years, decided with the truce Jesup’s Proclamation, which resulted in the first Emancipation Proclamation, the model for Lincoln’s order in 1863.

“The colored population is the great available . . . force for restoring the Union,” President Lincoln told Andrew Johnson in March 1863. “The bare sight of 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers upon the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once. And who doubts that we can present that sight if we but take hold in earnest?”

John Horse, the leader of the Seminole forces who moved first to Oklahoma, then Texas and Mexico, would become a leader of the unexpected success of Mexican forces against the French, celebrated at Puebla on May 5, 1862 as Cinco de Mayo.

Because the French had to focus on Mexico, the potential alliance with the Confederacy through Texas did not occur.  A few months later, President Abraham Lincoln would recognize the migration of freed Africans to Union lines in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana and issue the Emancipation Proclamation as the necessary step to deny the South its labor force and cut off its economic lifetime to Europe.

In Road to Ratification: How 27 States Faced the Most Challenging Issue in American History, I began by finding the ratification instruments for each state.  I first became aware in 2007 when the Historic State Capitol Museum in Sacramento asked me to interpret the California adoption of the 13th Amendment.   Then, we weaved the story from that instrument back to the first African known to enter that state.

Citizenship for All: the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment, similarly describes how Africans turned themselves into American citizens in just five short years by taking advantage of the split between the North and South over control of the cotton trade to win their freedom on the battlefield.

By June 1865, the list of military accomplishments was impressive, many reported by Thomas M. Chester of the Philadelphia Press and by the Christian Recorder of the A.M.E. Church:

  • The First Kansas Colored victory at Honey Springs, Indian Territory in July 1863
  • On Feb. 18, 1864, the 21st U.S. Colored Infantry entered Charleston after its evacuation by Confederates
  • Construction and guarding of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad by the 12th and 13th U.S. Colored Infantries in Tennessee
  • The First and Second Native Guards who entered Union service in 1863 rebuilt the railroad from Opelousas to New Orleans, including repair of a bridge in 1863, and participated in the capture of Port Hudson, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River
  • The Corps d’Afrique 1st Engineer and 16th Infantry helped occupy Brownsville and Corpus Cristi, Texas in November 1863
  • The 3rd and 5th Corps d’Afrique Engineers build a system of dams on the Red River in May 1864, part of 19 regiments of U.S. Colored Troops in Louisiana
  • Garrisoning Key West by the 2d U.S. Colored Infantry and Pensacola with the 25th, 82d and 86th U.S. Colored Infantries
  • The attack of the Colored Troops Division on April  9, 1865 to force the surrender of Mobile
  • The capture of Little Rock, AR on Jan. 24, 1865
  • Organization of 11 U.S. Colored regiments from Camp William Penn in Philadelpha
  • Garrisoning Hampton Roads by the end of 1863 with the 1st, 5th, 10th, 35th, 36th and 37th U.S. Colored Infantries in Yorktown, Portsmouth and Norfolk as the African Brigade under Brig. Gen. Edward Wild
  • Organization of the 4th Division of IX Corps in April 1864 by the 19th, 23d, 27th, 30th and 39th U.S. Colored Infantries
  • The siege of Petersburg which cut off the lines of supply to the Army of Northern Virginia
  • Earning 12 Medals of Honor on Sept. 29, 1864 in the attack on Ft. Gilmer on the outskirts of Richmond
  • Excavation of the Dutch Gap Canal by seven black regiments in 1864
  • Formation of the all-black 25th Corps in December 1864
  • Occupation of Wilmington, N.C. on Feb. 21, 1865
  • Entering evacuated Richmond by the 7th and 8th U.S. Colored Infantry on April 3, 1865 with surrender negotiated by the commander of the 25th Corps. Gen. Weitzel
  • Arrival at Appomattox Court House on April 8
  • Garrisoning of Brazos Santiago at the mouth of the Rio Grande by 1864 by the and 62d, 87th and 95th U.S. Colored Infantries
  • Construction of a rail line from Brazos Santiago to White’’s Ranch, TX

The lonely outpost by black soldiers at the mouth of the Rio Grande kept France and occupied Mexico out of the war while Union generals prioritized maintaining the navigation of the Mississippi in 1863 to 1865. Most of the Union outposts along the Mississippi during 1864 were maintained by U.S. Colored Troops because white soldiers enlisted for three year terms in 1861 and 1862 were leaving service. After the surrender, the 25th Corps would serve as the first border patrol along the Rio Grande.

With 45,000 U.S. troops in Texas, the abortive “empire” of Maxmilian in Mexico collapsed in January 1866 when Napoleon III withdrew his 30,000 French troops.

Within two years, the U.S. Army, under Congressional Reconstruction. held a vote for a constitutional convention in Texas.   Of the 44,689 votes in favor, 36,932 were cast by African-Americans, a direct effect of the service of their fellow citizens in arms, electing ten of the 90 delegates.

As U.S. Colored Troops were mustered out, John Horse would return from Mexico to form the Seminole-Indian Scout Detachment, which for the next 44 years would protect the U.S. border until 1914 between Forts Scott and Ringgold.  A cemetery in Brackettsville is the site of an annual ceremony for the descendants, including four recipients of the Medal of Honor.

As the 400th anniversary of the 1619 arrival of an English slave ship to Jamestown approaches this summer, African-American families must seize control of the narrative to point out that the area is also the site of the Haitian forces who helped decide the American Revolution and the first contrabands who left the Confederacy for Union forces.  The journey from Jamestown must focus on the enormity of the triumph over slavery.

The best vehicle for establishing the belonging of Africans in America is the connection of today’s 7.8 million African-American students with their ancestors who fought in the Civil War.  That service is richly documented through the National Park Service and National Archives.

Dr. Frank Smith, founder of the African-American Civil War Museum and Monument at 10th and U Streets in Washington, honored me with an invitation to participate in the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birthday to discuss the findings of Road to Ratification: How 27 States Faced the Most Challenging Issue in American History. While talking, he acknowledged that only 3,000 current Americans have identified their ancestors on the 209,145 names on the memorial.  As many as half of those students have relatives whose courage is part of the preceding story.

Knowledge of their lives is an imperative that all parents should insist on during the 2019-20 school year.  As I noted in a paper for the American Educational Research Association, simply advising students that they are the descendants of people who overcame slavery instead of people who were enslaved changes their current valuation of their own worth. I’ve worked with Regina Mason on the movie Gina’s Journey, where she spent 40 years researching an ancestor, William Grimes, who wrote a narrative of his triumph over captivity.

Every African-American has superheros in their legacy, who not only preserved the honor of the African mother land but made the United States and Mexico of today possible.  That is a story we tell during the next school year in six hours daily of instructional television based on rich documentation from our national parks and other primary sources.

Black parents can’t count on schools to tell the journey from Jamestown to Juneteenth.  Study these books over the summer and insist on having the life of blacks in America seen through the authentic accounts of those who lived them.

By John William Templeton |Special to the Sacramento Observer

John William Templeton is creator of the California African-American Freedom Trail and author of Road to Ratification: How 27 States Faced the Most Challenging Issue in American History; Citizenship for All: the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment and Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols.1-4, all available at queencalafiamovie.com

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Longtime Sacramento area resident Dr. Al Brown is a member of the of the Northern California Golf Association Board of Directors. The NCGA’s mission is to support the game of golf, administer course ratings, maintain members’ USGA Handicap Indexes and teach the Rules of Golf.

The NCGA, as a part of the USGA, is assisting with planning and organizing the 119th U.S. Open Championship which will be held June 13-16 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, CA.

Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted the U.S. Open in five consecutive decades and the 119th edition will be the 13th USGA championship to be conducted at the resort.

In 2000, Tiger Woods won the first of his three U.S. Opens with a historic 15-stroke triumph. Woods also won the 2002 and 2008 U.S. Opens, and earlier this year, won his 15th Major championship by winning the Masters.

Dr. Brown — a former professor at Sacramento State University and currently serves on the Sacramento County Office of Education Board of Directors — shares his thoughts about how he got involved in the game of golf and the opportunities available to men and women of color in golf.

Q: What/Who got you into the game of Golf?

A: I never considered golf as a child growing up in segregated Montgomery, Alabama. We played basketball and football because they were accessible. When I became a teacher in Sacramento, I was approached by a friend to try golf and I joined the local African American golf association, the Sacramento Area Black Golf Club (SABGC).This was 1975 when I joined and eventually served as an officer for several years. I was playing in golf tournaments throughout Northern California, Reno, Nevada and Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona.

The people that motivated me to play golf were many African American golfers, but, just to name a few, Handy Gray,one of the original founders of SABGC, Sheldon Connerly, James Curtis, Clyde Daniels, Cassius Hudson, Ed Pressley and William “Bill” Dickey, who was a founding member of The National Minority Junior Golf Scholarship organization (that provided college scholarships). SABGC organized a minority scholarship program which supported college golfers.

As a college professor, golf allowed me the opportunity to give back and help young boys and girls learn how to play golf and learn life skills.

Q: How did you get involved with the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA)?

A: After serving with SABGC, I was approached to apply to be an official of NCGA and served as an official in northern California golf tournaments as a Red Coat official in the 1990s (officials no longer wear red coats). This required me to be interviewed by an NCGA Board Member, Eddie LeBaron (retired NFL quarterback).

Then, approximately two years ago in 2017, I was approached by NCGA past Board Member, John Nakamura to apply to serve as a Board Member. I was one of several applicants and one of five selected for interviews for two board positions. Having served as a Red Coat had a positive impact on my interview. The interview committee selected me and a golf member from the San Jose Country Club. My home course is Rancho Murieta Country Club.

Q: What is the Mission of the NCGA?

A: The mission of the NCGA is to support and promote the game of Golf. To me, this means that the NCGA is the organization that represents the interests of all golfers and clubs in our region, and provide programming, tournaments and other golf-related services that help golfers better enjoy the game while we attract new golfers to the game.

Q: Does the NCGA (or the game of golf) have a Diversity initiative? If not, does it need one? If so, What are its goals and how will we know if it is successful?

A: There are several programs in the game of Golf which support diversity in the game.

For example, the NCGA through its foundation, “Youth on Course” has a scholarship program which annually grants approximately $250,000, which 66 percent go to people of color and 66 percent female. The NCGA has also been working very closely on unification efforts with the two women’s golf associations in the region to work together to grow women participation in the game.

Our NCGA “Youth on Course” program allows children under 18 years of age to play certain courses for $5 and it is located in 31 states and Canada.
Our annual scholarship luncheon will be held in Oakland in July, and many selected are the first in their family to attend college.

Other initiatives exist across the golf industry. The National Golf Foundation and organizations that track data on golf participation has some very encouraging statistics.

Of Junior Golfers, 36 percent are girls compared to 15 percent in 2000 (more than double the rate) and almost 25 percent are non-White while it was only 6 percent 20 years ago.

Our data in Northern California is a lot better because of “Youth on Course” and First Tee programs.

Other opportunities in the golf industry includes the USGS which has been a big supporter by partnering with golf associations for internships, which is called the P.J. Boatwright Internship program.

The P.J. Boatwright internship program, since its inception 27 years ago, has provided more than $28 million to fund nearly 2,400 paid internships at its allied state and regional golf associations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico. This initiative has also helped to bring a more diverse talent pool to golf associations.

Q: Why do you think it is so hard for Blacks (men and women ) to play Professional Golf?

A: I personally feel that lack of exposure to the game of golf at an early age and a lack of mentors create a barrier to professional golf.
Also, access to public golf courses from a minority neighborhood (lack of transportation and equipment).

There are many talented and athletic children but they are not taught the skills at an early age to become competitive at the college and professional level.

Q: What opportunities are there for Blacks to get into the golf industry?

A: Blacks can take advantage of several opportunities in the golf industry such as promotion of golf events, marketing, sales of golf equipment, working at a golf course, serving as a teaching professional, golf coach at a public or private institution and becoming a professional golfer on one of the professional tours.

Today, we have three PGA professionals on tour and they are Tiger Woods, Harold Varner III and Cameron Champ (who hails from Sacramento).

Q: Speaking of Tiger Woods, what has been his impact on the game of golf in general?

A: He has dispelled the false assumption that a Black person could not become a leader in the golf industry and a role model to all young people, that golf is fun, enjoyable and achievable through hard work, and adults in general appreciate how he has transformed golf.

Q: What are some of your reflections on the game of golf?

A: Golf teaches fairness, social, mental, and physical skills that will last a lifetime. Golf has allowed me to play with many different people of all backgrounds, but, I treasure the experience of playing a round of golf with my childhood hero, Marques Haynes, Harlem Globetrotters point guard who was the first person to dribble a basketball behind his back in a game of professional basketball.

Q: Who are the other three people in your dream foursome?

A: Tiger Woods, Steph Curry and Greg Anthony.

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — California lawmakers are headed toward a confrontation with Gov. Gavin Newsom over whether to keep a tax that can generate nearly $2 billion for low-income health benefits but means approval from the Trump administration amid a feud between state and federal officials.

Senate and Assembly budget committees finished their versions of the $214 billion annual budget this week and want to keep a tax on managed care organizations. The companies manage Medicaid plans in California, the joint federal-state program that provides health coverage for the poor and people with disabilities.

California uses the money from those taxes to pay its share of Medicaid costs, which then trigger payments from the federal government. When fully implemented, the tax saves the state about $1.8 billion.

The tax is set to expire June 30, and California needs permission from the federal government to keep it. Newsom is worried that might not happen and did not include it in his budget proposal.

California has a rocky relationship with President Donald Trump’s administration. The state is poised to extend Medicaid to cover some adults in the country illegally , which goes against Trump’s immigration policy.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra also has filed at least 50 lawsuits challenging the administration’s executive actions and policies. And the federal government last week canceled more than $1 billion it had promised to help California build a high-speed rail network.

“I thought it would be imprudent to include it until we had more confidence,” Newsom said of the tax.

Lawmakers disagree, noting that the federal government already has approved a similar tax for Michigan.

“Closed mouths don’t get fed, as my father used to say,” said Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who heads the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. “I couldn’t support not trying, based on an assumption because (Trump) changes his mind apparently every day.”

The tax is unusual because many managed care organizations want to keep paying it. The money they send to the state is used to draw down federal cash that’s sent back to them for providing coverage to Medicaid recipients.

“The stakes are too high for (the tax) to be disapproved or rejected,” said Brianna Lierman, CEO of Local Health Plans of California, which represents managed care organizations. “We agree with and support the cautious approach to both structuring this tax and seeking approval for it. There is just too much to lose.”

The Senate and Assembly will begin budget negotiations with Newsom next week. Lawmakers adopted his revenue projections, which call for a $21.5 billion surplus, the largest in at least 20 years. Lawmakers must pass a budget by June 15 or they stop getting paid.

The two legislative versions have vastly different health care proposals.

The Senate, following Newsom’s lead, wants to tax people who don’t have health insurance and use that money to help middle-income families pay their monthly insurance premiums.

The Assembly did not include money for that, with budget chairman Phil Ting saying representatives preferred to consider those options later this year. Advocates worry that would significantly delay new benefits.

The Senate also wants to expand Medicaid to include adults in the country illegally if they’re between the 19 and 26 or at least 65 and older. But the Assembly only included money to cover young adults.

“Whenever you do a budget, there are thousands of phenomenal proposals that just don’t make it in. And it’s not that we don’t care, it’s really because we couldn’t quite make room,” said Ting, a San Francisco Democrat.

Another issue dividing lawmakers and the governor: How to improve the state’s drinking water.

Health advocates say more than a million people in the state don’t have access to clean drinking water because of problems with public water systems.

Newsom proposed a 95-cent tax on most residential water customers to help pay for improvements.

The Senate rejected the tax but recommended spending $150 million a year in existing tax dollars to make the improvements. The Assembly did not include any money for it, deferring the issue until later in the year.

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(CBM) – Here’s an update on five pieces of California state legislation that could have impact on the conduct of your local police and the way you live. –  from how (and how much) you get paid, to the school you select for your children and where you reside (or invest) in rental property.  

Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber speaks at a press conference February 6 standing with family members affected by police use of force. 

AB 392

The California Act to Save Lives may soon be law. After police groups dropped their opposition to the bill authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) last week, a majority of lawmakers came out to support it. If passed, the bill will change the standards for police use of force in California and hold officers more accountable if a suspect is shot. It would also be one of the toughest laws in the country intended to discourage the use of lethal force by police. Weber, who is also chair of the legislative Black Caucus, introduced the bill after police officers shot and killed Stephon Alonzo Clark, a 22-year-old African American man, in the backyard of his grandparents home in Sacramento. With the new changes to the language in the law, the bill stands a fair chance of passing the Senate and making it to the governor’s desk for his signature. Black Lives Matter and some family members of victims dropped their support after Weber made the changes to the language. They say the amended legislation isn’t as strong or specific enough, and is open to interpretation by the courts.  Other family members of victims have maintained their support, saying they understand negotiation is part of the legislative process. “I kept saying I wanted a bill that would make it safe behind and in front of the badge,” said Weber, thanking her colleagues and supporters after the bill passed in the Assembly.

AB 5 – Worker Status: Employees and Freelancers

Wednesday last week, the state Assembly voted 59-15 to pass AB 5. If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the legislation will make if tougher for companies to enter contracts with freelancers and could affect hundreds of thousands of “gig economy” workers across the state, including nail technicians, Uber drivers, Amazon delivery workers and even exotic dancers. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced the legislation, also known as the “Dynamex Bill” or the “Employee Misclassification bill.” By writing into law specific rules and penalties, AB 5 builds on a California Supreme Court 2018 decision that instructed business to apply an “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is a freelancer or employee. For a worker to be classified as a freelancer, employees would have to prove that the worker is (A) not under the contracting company’s control, (B) is doing work that is not central to the company’s business, and (C) has an independent business providing a service. If workers don’t meet those requirements, companies would have to provide all the required pay and benefits under California law like overtime pay, minimum wage, workers compensation, employee insurance, paid parental leave and healthcare subsidies. Leaders from various industries throughout the state are lobbying Lawmakers in Sacramento to retain the ability to hire certain kinds of freelancers that are critical for their particular trade or businesses. The bill has now moved to the Senate for review.

Parents stage a Black Parent Strike March May 22 in front of the State Capitol. 

SB 756 – Charter School Moratorium

Last week, Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) sidelined her own charter school Bill, SB 756. Her proposal called for a 5-year moratorium on charter schools. By temporarily halting the legislation and moving it to an “inactive file,” she has a chance to re-introduce it next year. For the last few months, hundreds of Black parents of charter school students have been campaigning against several charter school laws that were making their way through the state legislature. Together, the proposals sought to slow the growth, take away legal rights and restrict the operations of the independently run, taxpayer funded public schools in the state. Last month, the Assembly passed two of the bills, AB 1505 and AB 1507. The Senate is expected to review and vote on the bills shortly. The California branches of both the National Urban League and the National Action Network opposed the package of bills, including Durazo’s, saying they are attempts to take away education options for Black families who live in neighborhoods where traditional public schools have failed their children for more than 30 years now.   In California, about 80 percent of Black students score below the state standard in math and 68 percent fail to meet the English Language Arts requirements. The state chapter of the NAACP supported the bills, arguing that charter schools take away resources from district-run public schools and that they may lead to the re-segregation of public education in America.  In California, about 50,000 African-American students attend charter schools. That’s about 8 percent of the total Black student population enrolled in public schools.  Gov. Gavin Newsom has commissioned a task force to investigate the impact charter schools have on public education in California. If Sen. Durazo re-introduces the bill, hopefully by then California voters will have access to the findings of the governor’s study to make a more informed decision on whether or not to support SB 756.

AB 1506 – Charter School Cap

Like Sen. Durazo’s charter school bill in the Senate, a similar proposal in the Assembly, AB 1506, called for a moratorium on charter schools in the state. Both the state NAACP and the California Teachers Association supported the legislation introduced by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who is African-American and a member of the Assembly Education Committee and the Legislative Black Caucus. The National Action Network and the National Urban League wrote an open letter to Gov. Newsom opposing the bill.  Last week, a day after Durazo sidelined her bill, McCarty decided to hold his from a floor vote, although it had already been approved by the Education Committee earlier this year. Responding to McCarty’s decision to shelve AB 1506 for now,  Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association issued a statement. “Charter public school families’ voices were heard loud and clear by Sacramento politicians,” she said.  “We cannot and will not accept legislation that limits access to great public schools.”

AB 1482 – Rent Cap

Wednesday evening last week, the Assembly passed AB 1482, a statewide rent cap bill, with a 43-28 vote. Introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), the bill prohibits landlords from raising rents above 7 percent per year, plus annual cost of living increases. Selling the legislation to his colleagues in the Assembly, Chiu talked about the high cost of living in California and urged legislators to take action to protect people who are often a rent hike away from eviction. “They are our neighbors,” he said. “They are our co-workers. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our grandparents.” Since introducing the bill, Chiu has made several changes to it in negotiations with landlord and realtor groups to gain their support. The rent cap, which sets itself to expire in 2023, covers single family homes and condos – even in areas with existing local rent control laws. It exempts landlords with no more than 10 single family homes and properties that are under 10 years old. AB 1482 is expected to undergo more amendments in the Senate.

By California Black Media Staff

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The Old City Cemetery Committee presents a tour that celebrates the contributions of historic African Americans in Sacramento.

The cemetery tour is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. It’s the first time the event has been held in the evening. Celebrate the contributions of Sacramento’s African American community as they struggled to gain a foothold in a dynamic and often hostile environment, and meet barbers, doctors, caterers, soldiers, singers, pastors, and others who settled the frontier.

Tickets are $10 and are only available online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4256799. Ticket sales are limited to the first 50 sold. The Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is located at 1000 Broadway. The tour convenes at the 10th Street gate. There is free street parking on surrounding streets. For more information, call (916) 448-0811.

The mission of the OCCC is to join hands with the community to restore, beautify, preserve, and protect the Historic City Cemetery, while maintaining access by descendants of the deceased, and to provide educational services to all visitors to the Historic City Cemetery of Sacramento.

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In anticipation of its 2020 production of Macbeth, Celebration Arts will hold auditions this weekend for a dramatized stage reading and is seeking African American performers.

Auditions are set for Saturday, June 1 at 11:00 a.m. and 12 noon and Sunday, June 2 at 2:00 p.m.

Celebration Arts is located at 2727 B Street.

MacBeth is one of the most powerful plays in Shakespeare’s canon and will come alive in this 90-minute abridged dramatic stage reading. Adapted and directed locally by Khimberly Marshall.

From Ms. Marshall, “On a barren landscape, three ancestors await the coming of the African warrior MacBeth. Their prophecy? One day, Macbeth will become King. Spurred by prophesy and consumed by ambition, MacBeth and his Lady Wife murder their way onto the throne. But their bloody climb to power comes with a heavy price.”

Audition is for a dramatized stage reading to be held at Celebration Arts July 5-6. This production will be filmed in front of a live audience. No Shakespearean experience needed. Seeking African American actors, spoken word artists, singers, dancers, and drummers. Non-traditional casting. All skill levels, ages, and disciplines welcome.

Please prepare/memorize a three-minute monologue or three-minute spoken word piece.

If you are a singer, please prepare 1 song in your best key. Come prepared to move and dance.

Please bring a photo of yourself. Professional headshots not necessary.

Roles include:

DUNCAN, King of Scotland – African American Male – 50’s

MACBETH, a general in the King’s army – African American Male – 30-40’s

LADY MACBETH, his wife – African American Female – 30-40’s

MACDUFF, Thane of Fife,– African American Female – 30-40’s

MACDUFF’s Husband, – African American Male – 30-40’s

MALCOLM, elder child of Duncan – African American Female – 20-30’s

DONALBAIN, younger son of Duncan – African American Male – Teen’s -20’s

BANQUO, a general in the King’s army – African American Male – 50’s

FLEANCE, his son – African American Male – early Teen’s

LENNOX, nobleman of Scotland & Witch #2 – African American Female – Open Age

ROSS, nobleman of Scotland – African American Male – 30-40’s

MENTEITH nobleman of Scotland – African American Male – 30-50’s

ANGUS, nobleman of Scotland and Porter – African American Female or Male – 30-40’s

CAITHNESS, nobleman of Scotland – African American Male – 30-40’s

SIWARD, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces – African American Male – 30-70’s

YOUNG SIWARD, his son – African American Male – 20’s

SEYTON, attendant to Macbeth – African American Male – 20-30’s

HECATE, Queen of the Witches – African American Female – 50’s

The Three Witches – – African American Female’s – Open age

Boy, Son of Macduff – African American Male – child

For more information, contact Celebration Arts at (916) 455-2787 or for a quicker response time for audition slots, email 10500flz@gmail.com

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